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We can’t imagine what Ja Rule was feeling the first time he heard himself on Mic Geronimo’s “Time To Build,” the track he held down with Jay-Z and DMX in 1995. The Hollis, Queens native must have felt his heart swell with pride as he heard his lyrics blast from Hot 97 and from the radios on the block he rocked on. 

A lot has transpired since the halcyon days of Queens and New York hip-hop. Last week, Ja Rule was photographed on vacation in Australia, several days after it was reported that he will face tax evasion. These charges are on top of gun charges stemming from a July 2007 incident wherein he was arrested for gun and drug possession along with Lil Wayne.  

Wayne served eight months in prison during 2010 for attempted possession of a weapon. At his hearing back in December, Rule (born Jeffrey Atkins) failed to convince the judge that there was an illegal weapons search. He received a two year jail sentence and is expected to turn himself in this June for sentencing.

Read more after the break.

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This isn’t the first time Rule has been in trouble. In 2003, he allegedly punched a man in a Toronto nightclub. The two settled out of court. In 2004, Rule was investigated by police after a man was fatally shot outside a nightclub where Rule was performing. The police thought the shooting was in connection to The Inc., Rule’s label which was being investigated for tax evasion. That same year, Rule was arrested for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.

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If you didn’t know who Ja Rule was, you wouldn’t know that these decisions were made by a multi-platinum selling artist (“Venni Vetti Vecci” [1999], “Rule 3:36” [2000], “Pain Is Love” [2001]) are just a few of his successful albums. Rule is also a Jehovah’s Witness. 

Somewhere between Rule’s hits with Jay-Z in 1998, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Milian, Ashanti, Case, Fat Joe, Jadakiss and R. Kelly, not to mention his own stand-alone singles in 2004, Rule may have gotten distracted by things that come along with fame: women, drugs, alcohol, in short, illusions that plague you and your self esteem and self worth. As glorious as it is, fame pulls you away from what brought you fame in the first place: your art. 

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In 2003, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan tried to intervene when Rule was feuding with another Queens rapper, 50 Cent. The idea was to squash the abusive words and violence and prevent it from running amok and to allow Rule to return to making hits. Since his encounter with 50 Cent, it seemed like the hits stopped and his troubles began. We don’t recommend jail for anyone, but perhaps Rule will find peace when he is away from fame’s illusions. Perhaps he will return a more focused artist.

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Ja Rule Featuring Vita: “Put It On Me”.

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Ja Rule Featuring Ashanti: “Always On Time”.

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Ja Rule: “Holla Holla”

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Ja Rule: “Livin It Up”